SUDEP Uncommon in Children With Epilepsy Without Cognitive Deficit
Previous research has estimated lifetime risk for SUDEP at 7%.
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WASHINGTON, DC – Children with epilepsy without cognitive deficit (EWOCD) are at low risk for sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) during childhood and mid-adulthood, according to study findings1 presented at the 2017 American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting, December 1-5, 2017 in Washington, DC.
“The signal study by Sillanpää and Shinnar2 suggested that, at the onset of epilepsy, children had a 7% lifetime risk of SUDEP, mainly in their adult years,” stated the researchers. “Our goal was to confirm or refute this assertion using the much larger Nova Scotia childhood onset, population-based epilepsy study.”
The investigators included children with EWOCD scores from Nova Scotia who presented with new-onset epilepsy between 1977 and 1985 (N=421). Follow-up data were obtained via telephone interviews with the patients or the patients' parents. At the end of the follow-up period, the average patient age was 30.5 ± 10.5 years.
A total of 122 patients continued use of antiepileptic medications and approximately 18% were in active epilepsy. During the follow-up period, mortality occurred in 9 patients. Of these patients, the average age was 29 years±13.5 years (range, 5-40 years). According to the data, epilepsy-related cause of death was determined in 2 of the 9 cases, whereas 6 cases were associated with causes unrelated to epilepsy. Overall, investigators found no definite or probable evidence of SUDEP during the follow-up period.
The investigators explained that, “the lower rate of remote symptomatic epilepsy (14%) than the Turku, Finland cohort (50%) may explain our different, but very reassuring results.”
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- Camfield P, Camfield P. SUDEP Is very uncommon in children with epilepsy and normal intelligence followed to mid adulthood: a Prospective population-based study. Presented at: 2017 American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting. December 1-5, 2017; Washington, DC. Abstract 1.211.
- Sillanpää M, Shinnar S. SUDEP and other causes of mortality in childhood-onset epilepsy. Epilepsy Behav. 2013;28:249-255.